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Klubrádió: a never-ending story?

July 10th, 2012

In a comment on the decision of the Media Authority to disqualify Klubrádió from a frequency tender for formal mistakes in its bid, the leading left-wing daily contends that the Orbán government wants to silence all its critics. Pro-government papers strictly report the facts of the ruling, and refrain from commenting on the affair.

The Media Authority has decided that all the applications submitted for its frequency tender fail to meet the formal requirements and thus cannot be considered. The Media Authority made its announcement after Klubrádió lost the tender, but contested the decision and the court ruled that the winner should have been excluded for not signing all the pages of the application, as outlined in the call for tenders (see BudaPost May 26, 2012). After reviewing all the applications, the Media Authority says that it had no option but to exclude all the applicants, including Klubrádió, for the same formal mistake. In the case of Klubrádió, the Media Authority said that not only the numbered pages, but also the blank back pages should have been signed. Klubrádió immediately announced that it would appeal to the court again against the decision.

Népszabadság devoted an outraged front page editorial to the matter on the day following the ruling. The left-wing daily flatly accused the Media Authority of using formal requirements as a mere pretext, as its real aim is to silence Klubrádió, which is an ardent critic of the government. The left-wing daily believes that by excluding Klubrádió, the Media Authority intended to send the message that it will achieve whatever it wants.

In another editorial, one day later, Népszabadság described the decision of the Media Authority as a ridiculous one, and predicted that in the long run it will undermine both its own authority, and that of the Fidesz government, which appointed its current leadership.

In the same issue of Népszabadság, András Boda argues that the Media Authority has already discredited itself. By excluding Klubrádió along with all the other applicants from the contest, the Authority has now admitted that it acted completely unprofessionally.  (Leading Socialist politicians demanded the resignation of the media board members on the same grounds: how come they did not recognise immediately that all were the applications were invalid, MPs Ildikó Lendvai and László Mandur argued when the decision was announced.)

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